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Here’s Your Sign

6

July 23, 2012 by eric echols

Last week, my wife and I took our kids to Six Flags over Georgia. The park is divided up into multiple areas that each have their own specific attractions. Their signs easily directed us to each of the general areas. Once we arrived at each general area, the signs then pointed us to the specific attractions we were looking for. Not one time during our visit did we need to stop and ask directions.

Six Flags use of directional signage enhanced our family’s experience. I think the same principles they used will help us enhance the experience of visitors to our churches. Here is what I learned:

Signs Move People

The first principle I learned is that the main goal of signs in a public place is to direct people to where they need to go. Efficient signage moves people from the general to the specific.

The signage in your church needs to be placed at ever decision point so that you can move people from the general to the specific. For example, you need general signage at every entry into your building that points families to your children’s ministry, student ministry, and worship center.

Keep in mind, the last thing families with preschoolers need to do is stop by a welcome center to ask for directions. The moment they do is the moment their preschoolers make their escape into the crowd. Instead, they need to be able to easily and quickly determine where they are going and the direction they need to go to get there.

Once you direct people to a general area, they then need specific signage pointing them to their next decision. For example, your general signage points families to your children’s ministry area. Once they arrive, they will need signage directing them to the specific place for checking in their children. Then they will need clear-cut signage pointing them to each of your age graded classrooms.

See The Signs

The second principle I learned is that signs need to be seen. If you cannot see the sign it is useless. For your signs to be seen, there should be no barrier between the placement of your signs and the users line of sight. This means that the signs in your lobby or hallways need to be above the crowd.

Readability also ensures that your signs are seen. Make sure you use easy to read fonts and that they are large enough to be seen at a distance.

A general rule of thumb is to use a ratio of 25 feet per inch of text. This means that a one-inch font can be read 25 feet away, a two-inch font can be read 50 feet away, and so forth. Additional considerations include eye-catching colors, the use of contrasts, and simple images to help families see your signs.

Additionally, consider the use of contrast and eye-catching colors to make sure your signs are seen.

Benefits of Good Signage

Like our experience at Six Flags, good signage at our churches will create a positive, user-friendly experience for our visitors. It will lower anxiety and increase their ability to move throughout your facility.

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6 thoughts on “Here’s Your Sign

  1. I like that Eric. We are big on signage also because you are right if people know where they need to go and what to do. You can guide them into the right direction at all times which allows them to feel comfortable. We also have people in the parking lots that’s greeting everyone and making it intentional and Authentic. Do you think greeters in different areas also help? Or is that overkill?

    • eric echols says:

      Lincoln, it’s really both/and not either/or. Greeters in each department are very helpful. Knowing that someone’s there to help if you need them also sets your guests mind at ease. I tend to lean toward signage first…then strategically place greeters throughout your facility. Maximizing both are essential to an amazing guest experience!

  2. This is so true Eric because like you said it allows people to know the direction and feel comfortable about where to go. We have greeters in the parking lot, and at different stations to also meet and direct guests to our Red room experience. Do you think that is overkill or is the signage sufficient? Thoughts?

  3. Missi says:

    I like both people and signs! Our first visit to 12Stone (then Crossroads) was the first church visit I/we had made “cold” .. My past experiences of churches I had visited I had family there or our last church home my son attended preschool there so I felt somewhat familiar to the environment and where I was going. Our first visit to 12Stone carried the need of “where does my four-year old go?” .. We had no clue. Upon entering the church, we were greeted by many smiling faces. I’m certain we had the deer in the headlight look when one sweet lady not only greeted us but specifically asked how she could help. She took it upon herself to lead us downstairs where the children’s area was located and handed us off to a check-in volunteer who explained the procedures/security of leaving and picking up our child once service was over, etc. signs are good as a reference point to help maneuver people but I have to say the warm friendly smile of a helpful greeter made a huge difference to us as visitors!! Now 11+ years later, we still attend!!!!

  4. […] Here’s Your Sign: create positive, user-friendly experiences for visitors to your church […]

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